Less is more...
Less is more, anyway, that's what I discovered on July 18th, 2011. I took this photo that day after placing the last of the things I desired keeping with me for the next few months into storage. Just looking at the moment in time, my stomach is sickened by the loss and despair I was feeling. I didn't want another person to say to me, "be strong".
In pure desperation, I needed less static and more substance. I smile now as I realize just how badly I needed it but just how badly I feared it. I'll go anywhere, but going within wasn't a journey I was prepared for. I don't know that anyone is prepared for such a trip, unless you've been there before.
So this was it and I remember thinking as I drove off, "if I die, this is truly everything I cared about". All my external things beyond what was in my car were now locked in a storage locker on K-10 in Lenexa, KS. I drove between the rows of storage garages slowly in first gear, allowing the idle of the car to dictate the speed. I wondered as I looked at the hundreds of doors, am I the only one?
That would be the first of hundreds of questions I would ask myself as I drove off that day. I often think back to that moment, it keeps my heart humble. I've heard people say over the years on different occasions, "I wish I could get in my car and just drive any direction I wanted". When we can't, we want to. When we need to, the miles are endless.
As I pulled up to the stop sign, knowing full well that I was about to embark on a journey that went against every known truth of who I was, I let out the clutch in desperation and began to move. I reached out for the radio knob as I had done thousands of times before, I stopped myself and thought, this has to be different. Instead of miles and miles of static, silence.
There were no rules. I had one simple mission, to buld a birdhouse in each of the lower 48 states. I asked myself over and over, why, why, why? I honestly couldn't come up with a single answer other than, because. My map tucked neatly against my seat, a small tub of food on the floor, a small bag of clothes and half my car stacked with items only a desperate man would cling too.
I was going against the grain of what society had taught me and so often, what it accepts as normal. What I was doing most likely only made sense to those in similar shoes, and than again, maybe it didn't as driving off to live in your car as you meander the country even sounds bit off to the crazy. My mind continued flashing back to a life lived, the experiences so vivid that often my vision was blurred by tears.
If there was ever a moment of broken, this was it. Just how broken was yet to be determined. There was one place on this earth I needed to go before going anywhere, my son's grave. I needed to explain to him what I was doing and more importantly, that none of this was his fault. The regret deep, each and every moment of his life clung to my soul until the branches could bare no more.
If there was a life for me to live, I needed to discover it for myself. Not another soul could repair what I'd damaged. This time, it was up to me and in all honesty, I didn't want to take anyone down with me. As I made my way to Blakes grave, I must have looked a fool. I'd rather be a fool willing to look within, than a fool only willing to point.
I slowly made my way around the curves that would lead me to a place I never dreamed of visiting. I stood looking on in disbelief. How did I end up here, this moment in time? I did only what I know a father could do, I wrote him a letter.